Finkel/Hearn & the Chicken missile

By Ben Thomsett on August 19, 2018
Finkel/Hearn & the Chicken missile
Billy Joe Saunders threw a cooked chicken at Deontay Wilder. (Simon Griffiths Photography)

“Either Eddie Hearn didn’t want the fight, or the fighter didn’t want the fight enough to go against Eddie…”

Shelly Finkel is a likeable man. He’s been in boxing since 1977. Since then he’s been around a bit, with his benevolent face masking the operations of a ruthless and professional manager. His roll of honour includes representing Mike Tyson, Manny Pacquiao, and the Klitschko brothers. When people say he knows the business, he knows the business. Capiche?

Nowadays—music and events aside—his aged toe is dipped gently into the warm lapping waters of the boxing sea while he primarily manages Deontay WIlder. A breeze, eh? Plenty of money is sloshing around the boxing world at the moment and Deontay is, however you want to view it, an exciting and marketable fighter. When Anthony Joshua popped up on the radar after his win over Wladimir I imagine Shelly was kicking back and waiting for the champagne corks to pop. He was wrong. Enter [stage left] Eddie Hearn…again.

Finkel and Hearn thrashed out the Klistschko v Joshua bout when the mood for UK boxing was good. A British stadium had just been filled twice (the Froch v Groves bouts) for the first time in living memory. The networks had perked up their ears and wallets. Both Froch/Groves events ran beautifully, and they gave the public all the drama they needed to feel like they hadn’t had their pockets picked and their noses tweaked. When the negotiations for Joshua/Klitschko came around, Finkel described the process as “Fun”. Cigars all round. Boxing and sense prevailed. Making the Joshua v Wilder bout would be as easy as falling over in David Haye’s shower.

In interview with Boxing Social, Shelly Finkel was clear on one thing from the recent negotiations with Eddie Hearn: “Either Eddie Hearn didn’t want the fight, or the fighter didn’t want the fight enough to go against Eddie.” He said that Joshua had turned down $50m, and when the counter offer of $15m for Wilder was made—though Finkel thought the amount was paltry—he advised Wilder to take it just to make the fight; Wilder apparently agreed. Even that wasn’t enough for Hearn. Finkel says Matchroom announced the Povetkin pressure from the WBA merely eight hours after he had told Hearn the contracts would be agreed in three to four days.

And now what do we have and what have we learned?

Well, we have Deontay turning up in Belfast and shouting a lot at Tyson Fury. And Billy Joe Saunders threw a cooked chicken at Deontay in a Belfast branch of Nandos. If the worst script writer in history had been employed to ramp up the likely Fury/Wilder bout they couldn’t have done a more moronic job. As for Joshua and Eddie Hearn, they are training like troopers for Povetkin in September and fending off the growing vibe that Joshua ducked Wilder as part of some sinister master plan that involved DAZN, the CIA, witchcraft, and JFK. I heard a rumour that if you stuffed an owl and gave it a Bentley Continental it’d be able to earn a promotion deal nowadays.

Peter Fury once told me that Tyson would “fight a polar bear if you paid him enough.” The way things are going we might just see that happen.

Boxing is crazy in ways that make me laugh and hit something at the same time. By the time you read this Tyson Fury will have whipped Pianeta like a disobedient medieval servant, and Deontay Wilder could, right now, still be drinking Guinness with Frank Warren. Boxing is a weird and wonderful tableaux of strange and desperate people.  I hope it never changes.

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  1. Pete The Sneak 04:01am, 08/22/2018

    “Boxing is a weird and wonderful tableaux of strange and desperate people.  I hope it never changes.”...Amen to that Mr. Thomsett!...Peace.

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